Frederick Douglass Learning To Read Essay

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In the 1800s, for a slave to know how to read and write was not only unheard of, but illegal. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in rural Talbot County, Maryland. For about seven years, he received reading lessons from his mistress Hugh, but that all changed as soon as she commenced her duties as a slaveholder. The once kind hearted woman was changed into a woman to be feared. She stopped teaching Douglass how to read and would monitor his whereabouts in her home to ensure that he was not reading anything. According to Mistress Hugh, “education and slavery were incompatible with each other” (Douglass, 33). Although Mistress Hugh had stopped teaching Douglass how to read, the seed of knowledge had already been planted. In the years that followed, his hunger for knowledge did not dissipate. Douglass devised various methods to learn to read and write in very clever ways. He converted unknowingly little “White boys” that he would meet on the street into his teachers and over time, Douglass finally learned how to read. The young boys that helped teach Douglass how to read would soon grow up and be free to do as they wish, but he would be a slave for life! By learning to read, not only did Douglass gain the knowledge …show more content…

During this time, he was giving anti-slavery speeches at different venues and in 1847; he started his own anti-slavery newspaper called The North Star. The papers slogan was "Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren" ( and swiftly became the most influential paper during the anti-slavery era which gave a voice to an oppressed people. Douglass was able to turn his once feelings of torment and despair of learning to read into an influential weapon against slavery and thereby giving people hope and pursuing to finding “the pathway from slavery to freedom” (Douglass,

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